Source: Won

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller | Book Review

Posted April 24, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 5 Comments

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller | Book Review

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller | Book ReviewThe Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Series: Nerd #1
Published by Entangled Teen on May 7, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Won
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5 Stars

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

Welcome to my spot along the Romancing the Nerd blog tour, hosted by YAReads Blog Tours! Today I get to read the first book in this cute set of companion novels, and I’m pretty excited because I LOVED The Summer I Became a Nerd! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Nerd. I was sold at nerd. I’m a nerd myself and I love nerdy things (like Big Bang Theory and Sidney White and fangirling), so this book spoke to me. I love all the nerdiness: the comic books, the LARPing, the cosplay, the smelling of the comic book store, the Princess Bride references. It was just so much fun!

2. We have Maddie, our closet nerd… She is hilarious! Yes, she bugged me at times because I wanted to shake her and say, “EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE SILLY GIRL!!” but she’s a teenager and teenagers can be like this in high school. I can understand her need to adhere to her popular image and date the idiot jock whom she didn’t even like, much less love, just because he’s a status symbol, but I didn’t love this about her. She does grow and change, though, and that made me love her. So yay for winning my heart, Maddie!

3. Logan is an adorkable dream. He’s so self aware and confident with who he is. I loved watching him try to win Maddie over. The scene where they meet for the first time is about the cutest meet cute I’ve read.

4. The supporting characters are golden. I loved Logan’s mom, and how supportive and fun she was. I loved his little quirky sister. Dan’s drama was great, but his language could use a little cleaning up. Really, though, the entire cast of characters was amazing.

5. The romance, like I said, is pretty dang cute.

This review was short and sweet, but I don’t want to spoil anything by going on. All in all, this is such a fun, sweet, swoony book! I loved everything about it! If you’re at all nerdy, love a nerd, or wish you were a nerd I beg of you to grab a copy of this book!

Romancing the Nerd is all about Logan’s best friend Dan, and it came out on April 5th! See how his former nerdom (seriously, how can Dan become un-nerdy?) creeps back in to his life in the form of a cute redheaded girl named Zelda. Once a nerd, always a nerd? I guess you’ll have to read and find out!

romancing the nerdRomancing the Nerd by Leigh Rae Miller
April 5, 2016 from Entangled Teen
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Dan Garrett has become exactly what he hates—popular. Until recently, he was just another live-action role-playing (LARP) geek on the lowest run of the social ladder. Cue a massive growth spurt and an uncanny skill at taking three-point shots in basketball and voila…Mr. Popular. It’s definitely weird.
And the biggest drawback? Going from high school zero to basketball hero cost Dan the secret girl-of-his-dorky dreams.

A tuba-playing nerd with an eclectic fashion sense, Zelda Potts’s “Coolness” stat is about minus forty-two. Dan turning his back on her and the rest of nerd-dom was brutal enough, but when he humiliates her at school, Zelda decides it’s time for a little revenge—dork style. Nevermind that she used to have a crush on him. Nevermind that her plan could backfire big time.

It’s time to roll the dice…and hope like freakin’ hell she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.

Follow the rest of the tour! 

5 Stars

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Book Review)

Posted October 7, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Book Review)Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Series: Ruby Red Trilogy #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on May 10, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 322
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won
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4 Stars

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

You know a book is bound to be awesome if it was translated from German to be published in the USA! I was really excited about Ruby Red when I found out, and even more excited when I discovered it’s all about time travel. As alway, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I was really impressed by the translation. We all know how easily wittiness and the beauty of descriptions can be lost in translation. Not so with Ruby Red! The writing is beautiful, the characters witty, the current way of speaking taken into account without seeming out of place. I can only imagine how amazing the writing is in German, if it is this good after translation. I applaud the translator, and I applaud the author for writing a story that is amazing even in another language!

2. I’ve got this thing with real people in history being woven into fictional stories. It brings a completely different kind of awesomeness to the table, and makes a story so much more believable if people like Sir Isaac Newton are brought into the story. He plays a significant role in Ruby Red, even though he is not a character in the book. It made things really interesting.

3. I loved the clever, witty dialogue between the characters. Lesley, Gwyneth’s best friend, is particularly fun to read. She knows all about Gwyneth’s ability to travel through time, and watching her drink it all in is pretty great. Gwyneth’s ghost friend, James, is also highly amusing. He died years ago, but does not know it. So he hangs out around the school and teaches Gwyneth about how things are in his time, mostly regarding manners and how to be a proper lady. I love that Gwyneth can see and talk with ghosts. It allows for a lot of side stories to come into play, like with Robert, the little boy who hangs around his dad all the time.

4. The entire cast of characters is great, but I really like Gideon. He’s a snarky, experienced time traveler who is a complete nuisance to Gwyneth. At the same time, though, she blushes when he’s around. She hates that. Hopefully we get to learn more about him in the next few books.

5. The approach to time travel is pretty cool. Across history, there are 12 time travelers (all born with a time traveling gene), all of whom are called a different precious stone. Gwyneth, the ruby, is the 12th and final stone in the circle of twelve. The main goal of the characters in this book is to go back in time to get a blood sample from each time traveler so they can read it into the chronograph (their time machine, essentially) and unlock a secret. Some people want to unlock it, and some feel it would be very dangerous to do so. Gwyneth and Gideon get to travel back together, meet old ancestors, try to figure out what’s true and what’s not, and deal with some obstacles. It’s really exciting, mysterious, and full of history that is totally believable.

Basically, Ruby Red blew me away in a subtle way. The more I think about it and let it marinate in my mind, the more I discover I really liked it! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. :) Definitely read this if you’re looking for a unique spin on time travel. I see romance in this series’s future as well, so that’s another plus for it!

4 Stars

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Book Review)

Posted May 30, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Book Review)Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Published by HarperTEEN on February 28, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: Won
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5 Stars

I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Beware: This book did crazy things to me. I went through every single emotion, and as I write this review I know I will probably fan-girl, keyboard smash, get mad, get excited, swoon a little, want to hug someone, sigh, and probably write and re-write it numerous times before pressing the “publish” button. Phew! Here goes! (Remember, my main points are bolded, as always!

1. Ahhhhhhhhh! I KNOW!!!! I FINALLY took the time to read this book. I know, right? Jana, this book came out in FEBRUARY. Jana, Delirium nearly pushed you over the edge. I KNOW! Why did I wait so long!? The torture. This book is amazing. AMAZING. I’m, like, the last person in the world to read this, so I don’t really see a reason to work at summarizing it. Just know: it’s amazing. I usually hate the middle book in a trilogy. Most “trilogies” should not be trilogies, as book number 2 is usually a lackluster bridge to the final book. Not so with Pandemonium! Maybe I waited so long to read this because I was worried we’d have another “New Moon” or “Catching Fire”? I don’t know. READ THIS!!

2. After my first “point”, I’ve come to realize that this review may not be as organized as I had hoped.

3. I think another reason I waited so long to read this is because I just KNEW Lauren Oliver would try to kill me again. I knew she’d mess with my emotions and stir up all these questions inside of me before throwing me off a cliff and making me wait for a YEAR to find out what’s going to happen next!!! And you know what? I was RIGHT. I need to stop reading her books on a cruise ship.

4. I actually closed the book and mumbled “cliffhanger” over and over again, in a sort of glazed over stupor. My sister died of laughter.

5. I realize I’m not telling you much about the book itself, but that’s because 1. You’ve read it, since I’m the last person in the world to have done so. 2. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s because you have not read Delirium yet (because if you’ve read Delirium, why would you wait THIS long like me?) and I don’t want to spoil anything for you. 3. My thoughts are not terribly organized, clearly. Anyway, my next point will get more specific, so quit reading here if reason 2 in this point (you have not read Delirium yet… or Pandemonium, I suppose) applies to you.

6. Leena has transformed from this scared little girl to a confident, rebellious, determined, strong person. Her entire life became almost pointless at the end of Delirium, and she fled to the Wilds to try and start a new life… without Alex. She yearns for him always, just like I do. WHERE IS ALEX!?! I’m loving the new Leena.

7. Leena’s new friends/family in the Wilds are very interesting to read about, especially when we get to learn the reasons they are in the Wilds now. I like all of them.

8. Of course, Lauren Oliver’s writing is as stunningly heartwrenching (and heartwarming at the same time) as always. I love, LOVE her writing style. I particularly enjoyed the layout of this book. The chapters alternate between “then” and “now”, so there are absolutely no gaps between the end of Delirium and the beginning of Pandemonium. This also helped me remember what happened in Delirium, because as we all know by now… I waited way too long (so much longer than necessary) to read this.

9. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I went through every single emotion. This book is a roller coaster that you never want to end. And then when it does, it shoves you back into your chair with a force greater than gravity itself. I was scared, I was thrilled, I was happy, sad, excited, confused, mad, devastated, etc. SO many questions are floating around in my head.

10. I waited over a month to write this review, hoping I’d be able to eloquently explain my thoughts and organize my feelings. Haha. Clearly, that is not going to happen. :P This book gives me high blood pressure.

All in all, AMAZING. I love Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver, and Leena. I can not WAIT for Requiem. I vow to read it the day it comes out, rather than wait 2-3 months like I did this time. You really must jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t. The hype is real.

5 Stars

The Crystal Princess by Kimberly Norton (Book Review)

Posted April 4, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 7 Comments

The Crystal Princess by Kimberly Norton (Book Review)The Crystal Princess by Kimberly Norton
Published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises on February 9, 2010
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 124
Format: Paperback
Source: Won
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1 Stars

Kelly lives the life of a typical teen in the suburbs of Southern California with her football star boyfriend and loyal best friend. It’s her senior year, and she’s looking forward to her eighteenth birthday. But her life totally changes when she’s abducted by her birth family, a family she didn’t even know existed. Meeting her mother and two sisters for the first time is almost too much for her to handle. Kelly learns she is a witch born from a coven of witches with special powers. She’s called back to help her family fight the evil, power-hungry witch, Victoria, and the Wizard Council, who want to destroy all that Kelly’s family holds dear before the Immortality Ceremony, a ceremony that will seal the girls’ fate and powers for all eternity.

To make things even more complicated, Kelly falls in love with an Indian named Max White Bear. But because of a longstanding tradition, their relationship is a hard sell to the chief of the Indian tribe.

With the war between good and evil looming, Kelly must find the strength to harness her magical powers and summon The Crystal Princess inside her.

I was very excited to win this book! The cover is gorgeous, and the story sounded very exciting and unique. I just never really got into the story, though, and I’m so disappointed about it. As always, my main points are bolded. :)


1. The sentences did not flow together, but were rather blunt, choppy, and sometimes very short, basic bits of text haphazardly strung together. This occurred throughout the entire book, but the most frustrating times were when the author was describing something to us. I found myself running out of breath while I read. I think this main complaint is actually related to every other complaint of mine, so let me give you a few examples of the writing style.

  • “She opened the door, and out drifted the smell of lilies. The walls were light purple, and the bed was white wrought iron. A handmade quilt lay on the bed as a spread. Two large windows let light in from both sides of the room. Lacy curtains framed the windows. A dresser sat next to the window.”

See? The room sounds like it could be lovely, and I bet if the words and sentence structures were arranged and/or chosen differently, I would have enjoyed reading it and savored the image. Instead, I felt like I was being shoved through the description like a tour guide might rush you from one painting to the next at the Louvre.

  • “Hands and faces appeared in the mirrors. The room began to shake. Moans coming from the spirits filled the air. A crystal ball sat in the center of the table. The black velvet cloth covering the crystal ball flew off. A grey mist filled the crystal ball.”

I can think of so many ways I could have rewritten that passage to make it more flowy, eerie, and exciting. Instead, it is just one detail after another again. I mean, three sentences in a row mention the “crystal ball.” Why not add some commas, some more descriptive words, and less use of the word “the”? The black cloth over the crystal ball is not even mentioned until it “flew off”. How did anyone even know there was a crystal ball there, if it was covered by a black cloth? There’s just no continuity or creativity.

2. There was no real storytelling. The events were like a grocery list, with no real continuity between each event. We flew from one thing to the next, with no explanation or elaboration. I guess this relates to my last complaint: that the sentences did not flow together. First this happened. Then this. Then this. Then we had a seance. By the way, you’re a witch. Then she went to sleep. Then she had a dream. Then she woke up. Then her dog talked to her.

3. We were given no room to imagine. Everything was described to the point where no detail was left for me to fill in on my own.

4. The characters were flat and emotionless. I mean, Kelly did not even mourn the loss of her family! She was just like, “Oh, ok! I have a new family now. Let’s forget my beloved family of 18 years. Who cares that I will never see them again?” Really? There was no depth, no development, no feeling, and no real reason given for me to like any of them. I finished the book not even remembering their names, even though every sentence of dialogue either began or ended with the person’s name the comment was directed at. Once or twice would be fine, but it happens very frequently.

  • Example: “Mrs. May, where’s your TA today?”
    “He had a tribal thing. He’ll be back next week. Did you need to ask him about something?”
    “No, Mrs. May, thanks.”

5. This is the biggest instance of insta-love I’ve ever seen. Nothing develops! One conversation is had, and it’s love.

6. The editing was very poorly done. Paragraph breaks are supposed to happen when one person is done talking, and before another one starts. I kept finding lines of text from two different people in the same paragraph, which was very confusing. It happened all. the. time. And then I’d come across too many paragraph breaks, making it look like two different people were talking, when it was really only one person. Also very confusing. There were also many missing words and punctuation marks (where did all the commas go? Seriously.). I’m wondering if any editing was done at all.

  • Example: “What’s your poison? French toast or pancakes asked Isabella?” < That’s a basic editing mistakeone that should easily be found by a good editor. Maybe spellcheck was all the editing this book received, but Tate Publishing lists 31 employees on their editing staff on their website. So… I’m not sure what happened.

7. Everything was very cliché: séances, spells, protective spells, crystal balls, witches on brooms. I felt like the subject matter lacked creativity, and would have better suited a picture book for young children.

Overall, the idea of the story was ok, but it was poorly executed and poorly presented. The writing seemed very basic, choppy, and juvenilelike a child could have written it. It was also way too big a storyline to be the size of a novella. I’m not sure if there was a page limit, or what, but the entire story was rushed and unbelievable. I also needed my inhaler by the end. It just wasn’t enjoyable to read, and I feel so bad to admit this. I wanted to love it, and I wanted to help this incredibly nice author promote her book. Sadly, I would not recommend it to anyone.

1 Stars